North Kent College welcomed home the lucky group of students and tutors from their week-long life-changing trip in South Africa, courtesy of Mark Lindop, who sponsored three students and one tutor, to participate in an incredible experience with Mellon Educate on “Build Blitz”.

After entering the competition to demonstrate how their skills and passion to succeed could help change those less fortunate in South Africa, by providing a place of education to 100s of children, the winners Jake Ripley, Kieran Hewitt and Jordan MacPherson, flew out to Cape Town on November 16. They were joined by tutor Phil Miles and Learning Support Assistant, Debbie Risby.

They undertook projects in Wallacedene, the home to Irene Grootboom, the South African housing rights activist. The mission was to build classrooms for both Enkululekweni Primary School and Hector Peterson High School.

Over the course of the week they helped to build 14 classrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 covered shelter, a playground, an out-door gym as well as create 2 sports fields on grounds that had been reclaimed from the City of Cape Town for the school’s use.

One of the students, Kieran Hewitt, said of his time: “The 2018 Building Blitz was a life changing experience, one that will stay with me forever. I learnt a lot from the other volunteers and was able to use everything I know for a great cause."

Phil Miles, bricklaying tutor, commented on how much of a difference that people can make when they come together saying: “The build was hard work, rewarding, emotional but most of all very satisfying. To be part of the Mellon Educate family for those 9 days will be an experience that I will never forget. I hope one day I can return to South Africa to once again make a difference."

Sent in by Sarah West